The other day I discovered Bunnahabhain is offering distillery exclusives on its website, with European shipping (a rare thing in Scotland post-Brexshit). In fact the process was really smooth: they’re not deducting VAT but on the other hand there was no added cost whatsoever upon arrival in Belgium. Much easier than most stores and distilleries which simply ship with a disclaimer and let you take a wild guess when it comes to taxes and added costs. So I bought a couple of bottles, most of them sherry casks, including this Bunnahabhain 2014 Canasta Butt.
Canasta is a well-known brand of Cream sherry from Bodegas Williams & Humbert. As a blend of dry Oloroso and sweet Pedro Ximénez the end product contains around 130 grams of sugar per liter. The wine is blended at a very early stage and ages for at least 6 six years in a solera system. An older version of 20 years also exists.
It appears this bottle was hand filled by Bunnahabhain’s visitor team. On the other hand it has a fully printed label (with fake handwritten text) and a perfect seal, so maybe it’s not as manual as they make it seem. Based on pictures from other buyers, part of the cask was already bottled in December 2020, but my bottle says 5/4/21.
Bunnahabhain 6 yo 2014 ‘Canasta Butt’ (61%, OB ‘Maturation Warehouse – Hand filled’ 2021, single cask #2746)
Nose: easy to recognize the prunes, toasted brown sugar and raisins from the sherry, as well as some savoury notes like brown sauce and pipe tobacco. Hints of chocolate and herbal honey. Some liquorice and black pepper. It certainly exceeds its age in terms of richness, and there’s a nice coastal layer underneath.
Mouth: punchy, with a peppery onset, followed by liquorice, chocolate covered berries, pipe tobacco and maple syrup. Roasted coffee beans with a slightly meaty undertone and a pinch of salt. Blackberries. Leathery notes and plenty of caramel, including a hint of oak char and a faint winey touch.
Finish: quite long, on liquorice and pepper, with lingering forest fruits and caramelized nuts.
A very deep, dark sherry cask, focusing on caramelized notes and spices, lacking some of the more fruity notes. Not a perfect match with my preferences, but there are no faults and the coastal side gives it a little extra. Highly educational whisky. Still available from Bunnahabhain